Some people go on mission trips far from home. They live in remote villages and learn whole new languages and customs. These folks seem to have an extraordinary capacity to deal with uncertainty: living in a new place, coping with inconveniences, and grappling with the potential for illness, violence or even death. What compels these adventurers? In short, a calling.
Merriam-Webster defines a calling as ‘a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.’ In the Christian tradition, Jesus sets for us a compelling example in chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew.
“‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
When the Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) founder, Alan Graham, imagined the Missional role, he meant for it to be a guilt-free ministry. Here’s a chance for a family or single person to live in the world, and enter a life-giving dance in answer to the scriptural call to serve those who are pushed to the margins, coping with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, navigating trauma — or as Mother Theresa would say, “Jesus, in His most distressing disguise.”
Missional neighbors living in CF!V participate in activities that support the emotional growth and physical health of our formerly homeless friends, in addition to their fellow missionals. Participating in these activities is a minimum requirement for missionals, but those truly called to live missionally are seldom “minimum people”. Recognizing their gifts, missionals share their lives generously. Simply put, missionals live intentionally—knowing and being known, loving and being loved. They’re givers, yes, but receive so much more: trust, laughter, smiles, perhaps hearing their name called across the garden and seeing a neighbor wave good morning, or receiving a tangible gift like a car wash or piece of fresh fruit. Committed to sharing their abilities, gifts, talents, and time, missionals make serving in CF!V their priority, doing their very best and offering their first fruits.
The calling to be a missional is not for everyone, and we want every discerning missional to understand our unique village culture from the very beginning. Because of this, the discernment process is lengthy—taking six to nine months, or even longer. During this time, discerning missionals serve and build community at CF!V several hours per week. (Out-of-town candidates follow an adjusted process plan.) This exploration process helps candidates get to know neighbors, missionals, and staff and gives each discerner a taste of full-time life in the village. Our missional team helps guide discerners throughout the journey which is designed with some pathways that help build connection, answer questions, and most importantly, give space for the Spirit to guide.